A Study into the Nature of Business

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The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) provides the service of higher education offering over 500 undergraduate courses and approximately 180 taught postgraduate programmes.

UCLan was founded in 1992 meaning that it falls within the post 1992 universities, it operates within the Higher Education market and is in competition with other HE providers such as other Universities and Further Education Colleges (FEC) not just from within the UK but all over the world with students having the opportunity to study internationally. UCLan is classed as being a modern university meaning it is in direct competition with other modern universities such as Manchester Metropolitan and Bolton University who are geographically two of UCLan's closest competitors.

As well as providing it's students with Higher Education UCLan also provides a good student experience which is made possible by additional services that UCLan offers its students which include the following; 'Futures' who are a career advisory service, 'Wiser' who provide specialist advice and guidance to all students for improving their assignments and performance in exams, the 'I' who are an information service who give advice on all areas of student life and the Students Union who are the democratic body of the students and represents the students within the university and host a wide range of activities as well as being the voice of the student. All of these different services combine to create the student experience which is one of the products that UCLan is trying to sell to its prospective students.

Mission and Values

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UClan's Mission Statement is a follows:

We promote access to excellence enabling you to develop your potential.

We value and practise equality of opportunity, transparency and tolerance.

We strive for excellence in all we do: locally regionally, nationally and internationally.

We work in partnership with business, the community and other educators.

We encourage and promote research, innovation and creativity.

UCLan's Values are as follows:

The advancement and protection of knowledge, freedom of speech and enquiry.

The promotion of educational opportunity for all.

The protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals and respect for diversity.

A commitment to health, well-being, sustainability and sustainable development

UCLan's mission and values have both internal and external impacts. The first impact which they have internally is that UCLan provides its members of staff with training to help them abide by UCLan's mission and values a few examples of the training which UCLan offer include training about equality and diversity, health and safety, environmental management and sustainable development. Their mission and values also have the internal impact of legislation, policies and procedures which have been put in place for staff to follow to make sure that they are upholding UCLan's mission and values such as making sure their rights and freedoms as individuals are protected and that diversity is respected. Another internal impact of one of their values in particular 'A commitment to health, well-being, sustainability and sustainable develop' that UCLan is implementing an Environmental management system which consists of reducing the amount of carbon we use as an organisation, Waste minimisation & recycling and the launch of a sustainable travel team who will help find environmentally friendly ways to travel for example car sharing and bicycle paths.

The way in which UCLan's mission and values have an external impact is by firstly providing opportunities for businesses, the local community and other educators to study higher education at UCLan and by bringing higher education to people who would not usually get the chance to do it. The value of 'The promotion of educational opportunity for all' has an external impact giving people from poorer backgrounds who are usually not likely to go to study at a university the chance to study at Higher Education. This is achieved by initiatives such as the 'Harris Bursary' which supplements and helps out students financially from poorer backgrounds so that they are able to go to university.

'A commitment to health, well-being, sustainability and sustainable development', the impact this value has externally is positive as it is helping the environment which UCLan is in to be more environmentally friendly and decreasing the carbon footprint and damage which UCLan is causing the environment as well as educating students about sustainable development which will lead to them being more aware about the harm they could be causing and teaching them ways in which to improve their carbon footprint. Other ways in which UCLan's mission and values has an external impact is by offering the local community the opportunity to develop their potential by offering grants and bursaries to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and by offering services such as Wiser and Futures so students can develop themselves as well as running workshops and classes for secondary and primary schools giving them a taste of HE, allowing them to see how they can fulfil their potential by going to university.

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UCLan are also having an positive external impact because of their value of 'The promotion of educational opportunity for all.' and part of their mission statement 'We work in partnership with business, the community and other educators.' by working with businesses and other education providers such as colleges all over the world, offering them the chance to study a course. UCLan has a wide range of partner colleges spread all over the world and

Provide the opportunity to study HE within a partner college of UCLan, which is ideal for a person who is unable to leave their local area and study at UCLan's main campus because for example of work commitments and provides the opportunity for local communities and people who would usually not be able to participate in higher education the opportunity to do so. As well as this UCLan have just launched UCLan's Burnley Campus next to Burnley College and provides the population of Burnley and surrounding areas (one of the towns in the UK which has the least amount of their population studying at HE level) with a local outlet that provides higher education and therefore promoting higher education in the local community and giving the community the chance to study HE which again shows UCLan upholding their value of providing educational opportunities to all.

Stakeholders

The University of Central Lancashire has a number of stakeholders and are as follows:

Prospective Students - These include all Part-time, Full-time, Mature, Undergraduate, Postgraduate and International prospective students.

Current Students - These include all Part-time, Full-time, Mature, Undergraduate, Postgraduate and International students currently studying at the university.

Prospective Student Advisors - These include Parents, Career Officers/Advisors, Peers and Alumni.

Business - This group of stakeholders includes commercial Partners, placement destinations, employer destinations and Alumni in senior positions.

Alumni - These include Alumni Students, Alumni Employers, Honorary Fellows and Alumni Donors of the university.

Researchers - These include the UCLan research community, the RAE and collaboration requests.

Funding Bodies - The funding bodies which are stakeholders within the university are HEFCE, NWDA, NHS, research funding bodies, individual givers and trusts and foundations.

Staff - These include all current and prospective staff as well as new job applicants.

Governors - This group of stakeholders includes all the governors of the university.

Competitors - UCLan has a wide range of competitors in the forms of other universities and further education colleges all over the world. UCLan's main competition comes from within the North West as the majority of its students come from this area.

Benchmark Universities - These are the universities which UCLan benchmark against and include; Lancaster University, University of Hull, Brunel University, The University of Plymouth, The University of Bradford, University of Salford, Manchester Metropolitan University and Liverpool John Moores University.

Measures of Success

The University of Central Lancashire measures its success in several different ways. Firstly there are the University League Tables which include the Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Complete University Guide, QS World Rankings and the Student experience league tables and are published each year, these league tables are used to rank universities by a set criteria this being different for each league table for example the times league table is ranked on the criteria of student satisfaction, heads/peers assessments, research quality, A/AS-level/Higher points, Employment, First/2:1's awarded, student/staff ratio and dropout rate, with the overall rank being calculated by the sum of all of these scores and then ranked from highest to lowest. UCLan's position within these League tables is the first way in which they measure their success year on year and is very important as potential students may look at these league tables and base their decision on whether to come to the university because of the position and scores shown within these different league tables.

One way in which UCLan measures its success using the league tables is to compare it to their competitors. To do this UCLan has a small group of universities which it uses as Benchmarks to measure its success. These universities are listed in the above stakeholders section of this report.

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If we take for example Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) who like UCLan a modern university and based within the North West area, meaning that they are in direct competition with each other, you can compare their scores and rank within the league table and benchmark against their performance compared to UCLan's year upon year. UCLan in the Times league table are currently ranked at 68th with MMU ranked at 78th immediately telling us that UCLan are performing better than MMU, if we then look at their individual scores for the criteria which makes up their final rank within the league table you can compare in greater detail how UCLan are performing in contrast to their benchmark universities for example in the criteria of Student Satisfaction UCLan scored 89 whereas MMU scored 81 showing us that UCLan's students are more satisfied then MMU's.

The second way in which UCLan measures its success is through surveys such as National Student Survey and the UCLan Student Survey which provide students at the university with the opportunity to give their opinions on the different elements of the university and rate the different areas of the university based on their experiences for example on the quality of teaching and learning on their course. Once the results from the survey are collated, the Strategic Development Service within the university analyses the results of the survey and produces reports, tables and graphs at both an institutional level and school/service level, allowing schools and services to see how students felt about their area and the experiences they had whilst at UCLan as well as being able to see how they are performing from year to year, if any improvements have been made and what students had to say about their school/service which in turn allows them to determine where improvements need to take place and where areas of concern are which need attention. In the case of the National Student Survey which is a national survey the results can be compared to other institutions giving UCLan and insight on how they are performing in relation to their competitors.

The final way in which UCLan measure their success is by looking at the results which their students receive when they complete their course, for example the classification of their results e.g. 2:1, 2:2 and 1st and how many people failed to graduate. This allows UCLan to analyse how well they are performing and see whether changes or improvements need to be made to their course in order to improve these grades for example in the teaching on their course or whether greater attendance monitoring is performed in order to make sure students are attending their lectures and seminars.

Recent Significant Changes

There are a number of recent changes which affect UCLan. The first of which is the recent change to the Higher Education sector, this is that instead of the previous £3290 cap on student fees per year it has now been increased to £9000. This will affect UCLan in a number of ways, firstly it may deter students from coming to UCLan because they may feel that it is too expensive, this is especially going to affect UCLan as 70% of its students are from the local area which isn't the wealthiest. As well as this with UCLan not having a reputation of being a high end university there is the issue of how UCLan can compete within the marketplace and attract students to their university rather than a university which is deemed to be better than UCLan and costs the same amount of money.

There has been recent significant changes affecting the structure of the university, these changes are that there both the school of Public Health and Clinical Sciences and the International School for Communities Rights & Inclusion will be disestablished and will be merging with other schools within the university. The reason behind these schools being disestablished and merging with other schools is because they are underperforming and part of the cost containment exercise which the university is carrying out to reduce their costs.

These recent changes are also affecting the structure of the university, because the two schools mentioned above and Lancashire Law School have to reduce their staff numbers (academic and admin) by approximately 50.These changes again are due to the state of the economy and the changes which are being made in the HE Sector and are having a knock on effect to the university which is having to perform cost cutting exercises to try and keep university spending to a minimum which includes approximately 50 members of staff being made redundant and all services having to make a 15% cost reduction primarily in staff costs. To help this process along UCLan introduced a scheme called voluntary redundancy which was made available to members of staff across the university enabling them to volunteer to be made redundant.

There has been recent significant changes to the way in which the Higher Education Sector is funded with the HE budget, excluding research for funding, reducing from £7.1 billion to £4.2 billion by 2014-15. This is still a 40% (£2.9 billion) cut. With a reduction in funding from both the government and funding bodies, UCLan will have to find alternative routes to generate this income which is being lost. This will inevitably cause UCLan to become much more of a profit orientated university than in previous years and will cause the HE market to be much more fierce and competitive and more like a marketplace with every institution fighting for each and every student. These changes will have a massive affect on UCLan and will mean that they will have to find new ways of marketing their university in order to attract students to choose their university rather than a competitor.

These recent significant changes will not just affect UCLan itself but will also affect their competitor universities in the same way. For example Manchester Metropolitan University is in a similar situation to UCLan this is because firstly the rise in students fees where near enough all universities will have to charge the same amount of fees it is likely to lose students wishing to study at the university, this is due to MMU like UCLan having local competition which is perceived as being of a higher quality and standard in the form of Manchester University for MMU and Lancaster University for UCLan which in turn means that students could favour going to Lancaster and Manchester university who are charging the same price rather than UCLan. As well as this because MMU and UCLan are based in the North West which is perceived to be an area where going to university isn't considered a norm and because most of the students come from the local area this will have an effect on their student intake. The budget cuts and the change in the way HE is being funded will again have the same affects on the MMU because the same changes are being made throughout England, so they like UCLan will have to find alternative ways to generate money.

PEST(EL) Analysis

Below you will see a PEST(EL) analysis of the University of Central Lancashire:

Political

Economic

Brought in new law for maximum fees of up to £9000 for students per year.

Student Caps on how many students are allowed to study at the university.

Public Sector Pay Freeze

State of the current Economy.

Lack of jobs in the current economy may drive people to higher education.

Higher Education Funding facing cuts.

Increase in Private HE providers

Unemployment Levels ;

Lack of jobs in a difficult climate may motivate more people (including mature students) to study at HE level, however, this may be tempered by concerns about affordability

Fewer graduate positions affect the employability rates of the University and media coverage of graduates taking low paid jobs encourages beliefs that HE qualifications do not lead to 'good' jobs

Natural attrition rates of University employees may decrease as there are fewer jobs to move to and as people retire later to build up their pensions

Social

Technical

People may be deterred to come to university because they can no longer afford to (especially because of the location of the university, because it is not an area of notable wealth).

Reduction in international student market: through increasing in-country provision (e.g. Dubai, Malaysia, Africa)

The ability to take courses over the internet e.g. Open University.

Increase in broadband provision and speed: may lead to increased demand for remote learning (students) and remote working (staff)

Legal

Environmental

Greater regulation of HE generally, eg, HEIs driven to provide teaching and research in particular areas by the funding model, coupled with greater reporting requirements

Forthcoming Government Bill: Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill 2008-09: amongst other measures, this Bill aims to encourage apprenticeships

HEIs judged on green/ethical credentials:

Students and staff: HEIs will increasingly be judged on green and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) measures by students and potential employees.

Government funding: will be linked to green credentials.

The PEST analysis identifies what Strengths and Weaknesses UCLan and have and the oppurtunities and threats which they are currently facing the main threat being the increase of student fees, the current economy and the way in which HE is funded with their oppurntuties being things such as the lack of jobs in the current climate means people are turning to HE and the venture of offering 2 year courses which could attract potential students in the University.

SWOT Analysis

Below you will see a SWOT analysis of the University of Central Lancashire:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Good standing in the university league tables

In 2010 UCLan was named as the North West's top modern University in all the national newspaper league tables

Location

Reputation in comparison to Russell Group universities.

Opportunities

Threats

Offer two year courses

New Sports Centre being completed this year.

Lack of jobs in the current economy may drive people to higher education.

Increased Fees

Reduction of Students because they can no longer afford it

State of the Economy

Government - Changes to HE funding etc

Increase in private HE providers

Fewer graduate positions may lead to people believing HE students do not lead to good Jobs.

The SWOT analysis identifies what Strengths and Weaknesses UCLan and have and the oppurtunities and threats which they are currently facing the main threat being the increase of student fees, the current economy and the way in which HE is funded with their oppurntuties being things such as the lack of jobs in the current climate means people are turning to HE and the venture of offering 2 year courses which could attract potential students in the University.

Financial Data

In this section of the corporate review I am going to provide you with some financial data from the University of Central Lancashire and compare these figures with that of Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) who are in direct competition with UCLan and see how they compare.

If you look at both figure 1 and 2 in appendix 1 of my appendices you can instantly tell that from the income which is coming into both of the universities that Manchester Metropolitan is the bigger of the two universities with them receiving £106,200,000 in comparison to UCLan's £82,841,000 from funding council grants with this pattern repeating for the other types of income which the universities generate. From these figures you can also see that the amount of income that UCLan is gaining in 2010 compared to 2008 is a lot more showing that UCLan is expanding, this is the same with MMU although the increase is a lot less than UCLan's showing us that UCLan is developing a lot more than its competitor and has found a lot more ways of generating income in recent years in comparison to MMU.

Again the total amount of expenditure which is being shown shows that UCLan is again expanding with the total expenditure increasing by £25,778,000 from 2008 to 2010 most of which is staff costs meaning that UCLan has a growing workforce which is a good sign for the local community. This is the case again for MMU with their total expenditure increasing between 2008 to 2010 again most of which coming from staff costs.

If you now look at the profit which UCLan are making in comparison with MMU by taking the expenditure away from the income, UCLan in 2010 made £2,582,000 whereas in 2010 MMU made £23,385,000 showing there is a large difference in the amount of profit which both these universities make. This I feel is down to a number of factors, are that MMU is much larger in both student population and actual size meaning that they have greater money making opportunities than UCLan and generate more income via student fees and funding from the government and funding bodies because of their size and student population.

These figures all in all show that UCLan are performing financially in the same ways as MMU who they are in direct competition, although UCLan are making less profit than MMU due to their size in comparison to MMU.

Conclusion

In conclusion UCLan is a modern university established in 1992 and is based in the North West in Preston providing the service of higher education within the Higher Education Market. UCLan's mission and values means that they have both a positive internal and external impact on all of UCLan's stakeholders. Upholding their values UCLan gives a lot back to the community and has become a Green University and in the process of which has won a variety of different awards for its environmental management and sustainable development and is one of the leading universities in regards to the Equality and Diversity of both its staff and students.

The University has a number of ways of measuring success ranging from league tables published throughout the year to results from both national and internal surveys which in turn help UCLan to improve the university and the experiences which Students have when studying at the university and allow them to benchmark their progress against their competitors and see how they are performing in the higher education market.

Recent significant changes within the higher education sector and the state of the current economy is changing the way in which not just UCLan but the way in which the whole of higher education is run and has meant that UCLan are going to have to adopt new techniques and methods in which to operate including cost containment and consider alternative strategies of generating income.

The Swot Analysis shows

The Pest Analysis shows

The financial state of UCLan is positive as in comparison to a direct competitor who is much larger than UCLan it is performing in the same way making a profit year upon year and showing that UCLan is continuing to expand and develop itself into being a well respected provider of Higher education within both the UK and internationally.

Bibliography

Electronic Resources:

http://www.uclan.ac.uk/information/uclan/index.php

http://www.uclan.ac.uk/strategy/our_mission_values.php

http://www.uclan.ac.uk/information/uclan/sustainable_development/sustainable_development.php

http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/stug/universityguide.php

http://www.uclan.ac.uk/information/uclan/index.php

http://www.uclan.ac.uk/information/services/finance/accounting/files/cons0910.pdf

http://www.finance.mmu.ac.uk/uploads/1/MMU_Fin_stats_09-10.pdf

Appendices